Andy Warhol to Beat Picasso in the Running for the World's Most Expensive Painting Sold

Monroe to be the new "Mona Lisa".


Andy Warhol's renowned "Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" went on auction on May 9th at Rockefeller Center in New York. The painting is estimated to be priced at $200 million, which brings the piece to be the highest-priced piece of the 20th century. 


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Warhol's iconic piece is a 40-by-40 inch pop-art portrait of Marilyn Monroe, an American actress, and model, known as a sex symbol throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Up until now, Warhol's most expensive piece sold was "Silver Car Crash" (Double Disaster), which went for $104,5 million in 2013. 

If the painting ends up being sold for this amount, it would surpass Picasso's "Women of Algiers", known for being the world's most expensive painting sold at $179.4 million in 2015. 

The piece is a part of a set of portraits Warhol created to honor the late actress after her death from a drug overdose in 1962. Warhol's painting "represents not only her physical attractiveness but also her cultural power and enduring legacy," according to Christies. Even sixty years after Monroe's death, Christies said her legacy remains as a "Mona Lisa for the twentieth century". 

"Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" pictures Monroe's "blond hair, piercing eyes, full lips, and even her famous beauty spot" in full detail, according to Christies. Warhol portrays Monroe like no one had ever before, as he brings her features to life in his blown-out painting of the actress. According to Christies, "the flatness and uniformity of previous renderings of her famous locks have been replaced by an expansive sweep of voluminous curls executed with such skill that individual strands are highlighted". Christies also explains that Warhol's depiction of Monroe is so detailed that it includes even the strands of hair Monroe's hairdresser missed, as seen in the original picture of the actress. 

Warhol's technique also added to the portrayal of Monroe, as a result of his new development of a more complex and radically different screening process, in 1964. Through this new technique, Warhol creates a seamless combination between color and black screen, developing a piece filled with accuracy and precision.

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